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School History

Great Northern School in 1894
The Great Northern School District began its existence April 20, 1894. It was assigned the district number 125. The first term of school started in September of 1894. The original school was a single story frame building with wooden steps leading up to the door and three windows along the sides to provide light.

The first teacher was Gertreude Brown who had taught the previous year at the neighboring White Bluff School. She had taught for 4 years in Nebraska and had gone to Normal School in Iowa. Her teaching certificate was listed as 2nd grade(degree, not class level).

Her salary the first year was $30 per month. This was a decrease in pay as she had made $50 per month the previous year at White Bluff School. This might have been due, in part, to the general depression the country was facing in 1894 resulting in a severe drop in prices and wages.

County Superintendent of Schools, W.B. Gurner, paid a visit to the Great Northern School June 18, 1895. The visit was at the end of the first full year of school. The term ended on June 21st of that year. He rated Gertrude Brown’s teaching methods 98%; her ability to instruct at 99%; her government and discipline at 100%. He listened to lessons in the first, second and third readers. She taught 14 classes daily using the county approved textbooks.

There were 9 students in class on that day, although 22 students were listed as being in the district. This included 8 grades.

The building condition was judged by Mr. Gurner as excellent; likewise with the furniture, outbuildings, ventilation, and temperature of the school. The water was supplied from a well. The school supplies included charts and a globe as well as 84 assorted books. The things needed for instruction were listed as a map and a dictionary.

The note in the margin of the school report listed, “A good school with a good teacher.” So passed the first year of the Great Northern School.